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This website is a work in progress last edited in December 2021

Until the late 1990s, the Australian government fully owned Telecom, Australia’s telephone network and the communications carrier (today privatised and called Telstra). Telecom held the monopoly on communications and let the network deteriorate into disrepair. When four small business owners had severe communication problems, they were forced into arbitration with Telstra, in order to have their issues fixed. Twelve other independent business people similarly affected by poor telecommunications also joined the arbitrations. The arbitrations were a sham: the appointed arbitrator not only allowed Telstra to minimise the Casualties of Telstra (COT) members’ claims and losses, but the arbitrator also bowed down to Telstra and let the carrier run the arbitrations. Telstra committed serious crimes during the arbitrations yet, up to this day, the Australian government and the Australian Federal Police have been unable to hold Telstra, or the other entities involved in this deceit, accountable. .

As we started to tell our COT vs Telstra arbitration stories and placing each collusive and deceitful act into some sequence, we found many further acts of collusion and deceit committed by others outside of our arbitrations. As the website grows, we have discovered some issues relate to more than one event and, in fact, are often linked to multiple events and therefore one event may need repeating in different sections of the website, to enable the depth of the corruption and illegal activities committed during the arbitration to be fully understood. Hence a number of previously detailed situations in other parts of absentjustice.com are used here, again, and we make no apology for that.

Had we not separated these issues into the chapters we have created as fresh evidence continues to arrive the corruption and collusive practices, which were firmly embedded in the arbitration process itself (see Chapter 8 - Treacherous behaviour, would have been lost. 

This is the story of a group of ordinary small-business people fighting one of the largest companies in the country. The story of how for years Telstra refused to address the many phone problems that were affecting the capacity of the COT Four to run their businesses, telling them 'No fault found,' when documents in this publication and on our website show they were found to have existed as our story shows. Other independent business people similarly affected by poor telecommunications have joined me on my journey. 

How Telstra and its legal defence team perverted the course of justice by using dubious strategies see page 5169 SENATE official Hansard – Parliament of Australia Prologue Evidence File 1-A to 1-C) as well as intercepting relevant faxes, failing to deliver crucial FOI documents (or delivering them months and even years too late, often so highly censored that little intelligible remained), even destroying documentary evidence and fabricating evidence.

How the central points of our claim at arbitration were ignored by the arbitrator and how no amount of effort to have these points addressed bore any fruit. How, in the course of all these travesties, the regulatory bodies — Austel/ACMA (for the government) and the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman (for the carriers) — failed to exercise any control over Telstra to the point where they could reasonably be seen as acting in concert. 

Together, these travesties spell a breakdown of justice, way out of proportion to the problem we began with.

Each of the COT members was told our phone problems would be fixed as part of the arbitration process, but they were not fixed in most cases until years after the arbitrations had cost the claimants hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal and fees. This seemed incomprehensible: everyone had a phone the system is supposed to work for everyone. What was going on?

In my case a secret government prepared report (see AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings, at points 10, 17, 18, 23, 37, 39, 40, 42, 44,46,47, 53, 56, 61, 62, 70, 75, 76, 79, 85, 86, 87, 89, 91, 92, 93, 98, 100, 101, 104, 105, 109, 110, 111, 112, 118, 115, 129, 130, 136, 144, 151, 153, 158, 170, 173, 186, 187, 188, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211 and 212show the government knew six weeks before my arbitration commenced that my claims had already been validated.

Why then did the government allow me to spend well over $200,000.00 (two hundred thousand dollars) in arbitration fees trying to prove something they had already proved? 

Absent Justice - My Story

“Our local technicians believe that Mr Smith is correct in raising complaints about incoming callers to his number receiving a Recorded Voice Announcement saying that the number is disconnected.

“They believe that it is a problem that is occurring in increasing numbers as more and more customers are connected to AXE.” (See False Witness Statement File No 3-A)

To further support my claims that Telstra already knew how severe my Ericsson Portland AXE telephone faults were can best be viewed by reading Folios C04006C04007 and C04008, headed TELECOM SECRET (see Front Page Part Two 2-B) which states:

“Legal position – Mr Smith’s service problems were network related and spanned a period of 3-4 years. Hence Telecom’s position of legal liability was covered by a number of different acts and regulations. … In my opinion Alan Smith’s case was not a good one to test Section 8 for any previous immunities – given his evidence and claims. I do not believe it would be in Telecom’s interest to have this case go to court.

“Overall, Mr Smith’s telephone service had suffered from a poor grade of network performance over a period of several years; with some difficulty to detect exchange problems in the last 8 months.”

On 25 February 1994, the then Sadow Minister for Communications Senator Richard Alston (on my behalf) raised the seriousness of these ongoing Ericsson AXE exchange problems in the Senate (see Misleading Deceptive Conduct File No 4-D and 4-E). Exhibits 4-C to 4-E in document|372  show Ericsson believed the AXE telephone exchange lockup problems had an incoming call loss to the customer's premises was between 15% and 50%.

When the COT Cases exposed this Ericsson AXE call loss rate to AUSTEL (the then government communications regulator) AUSTEL (now ACMA) instigated an investigation into these AXE exchange faults and uncovered some 120,000 COT-type complaints were being experienced around Australia. Exhibit (Introduction File No/8-A to 8-C), shows AUSTEL’s Chairman Robin Davey received a letter from Telstra’s Group General Manager, suggesting he alter that finding:

For example, at point 4 on page 3, Telstra writes:

“The Report, when commenting on the number of customers with Cot-type problems, refers to a research study undertaken by Telecom at Austel’s request.  The Report extrapolates from those results and infers that the number of customers so affected could be as high as 120,000.

However, at point 2 on page 1 of Telstra’s letter 9 April 1994, Telstra writes:

“In relation to point 4, you have agreed to withdraw the reference in the Report to the potential existence of 120,000 COT-type customers and replace it with a reference to the potential existence of “some hundreds” of COT-type customers”.

The fact that on this occasion on 9 April 1994 Telstra (the defendants) were able to pressure the Government Regulator to change their original findings in the formal April 1994 AUSTEL COT Case report is alarming, to say the least. Worse, is that when AUSTEL released it into the public domain the report states AUSTEL only uncovered 50 or more COT-type complaints.

50 COT-type customer AXE complaints in comparison to 120,000 COT-type customer AXE complaints is one hell of a lie told by the government to its citizens who voted them into power.

On 26 September 1997, after most of the arbitrations were concluded, John Pinnock (the second administrator of the COT arbitrations), advised a Senate committee (see page 96 and 99 Senate – Parliament of Australia) that:

“Lane Telecommunications, which is one part of the technical component of the resource unit, has withdrawn from the process as a result of a conflict or perceived conflict of interest after being purchased from Pacific Star by Ericsson Australia, the major supplier of equipment to Telstra, including equipment whose performance is central to some of the claims.”

It is, therefore important I jump forward 24-years to the current day and introduce the bribery and corruption issues the US Department of Justice raised against Ericsson, on 19 December 2019,

“One of Telstra’s key partners in the building out of their 5G network in Australia is set to fork out over $1.4 billion after the US Department of Justice accused them of bribery and corruption on a massive scale and over a long period of time.

“Sweden’s telecoms giant Ericsson has agreed to pay more than $1.4 billion following an extensive investigation which saw the Telstra-linked company 'admitting to a years-long campaign of corruption in five countries to solidify its grip on telecommunications business’.”  (see https://www.channelnews.com.au/key-telstra-5g-partner-admits-to-bribery-corruption/)

Purchasing all of Lane Telecommunications' COT related arbitration files (during the COT arbitrations) was a most significant coup for both Telstra and Ericsson because all of the arbitration technical information Lane had acquired as a witness during the COT arbitrations which were stored in Lane's computer system as well as in hard copy records belonged to Ericsson once they owned Lane.

What the Australian government appears not to have considered when they allowed Lane to be sold off during our government endorsed arbitrations is that Lane had signed a Confidentiality Arbitration Agreement in which each of the COT claimants also signed agreeing under no circumstances, they would disclose to a third party any information they obtained during the COT arbitrations. And here Lane is the main arbitration witness allowed to sell that confidential acquired information to Ericsson, who Lane had been assigned to investigate.

Follow this Ericsson and Lane saga in My story and Bribery and Corruption - Part 1

A testament 

Why am I authoring this story at seventy-seven years of age when I should be relaxing and enjoying my retirement? Because two of the original four (COT case) have since died and the other has dementia. I have this intense feeling inside that I must tell our COT story how it happened, not how the bureaucrats have recorded It in Australia's government archives. The history of what took place during our government-endorsed arbitrations in the 1990s have been doctored. 

Please read the true account of what happened.

                                                                                   

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‘Absent Justice’

In Alan Smith’s new book he shows us the twisting path of government arbitration,
the ways it can go wrong and how to make sure it doesn’t go wrong for you...

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All of the main events as quoted in this unbelievable true crime story are supported by copies of the original freedom of Information documents linked in the text.

Clicking on these links with your cursor will automatically open a PDF of the exhibit/evidence that a crime was committed. Using this method and following the various file numbers discussed in our various pages, you will verify our story. Without those documents, most people would really struggle to believe that public officials and their lawyers committed the illegal offences they did.

Using the acquired evidence the way we have is possibly a world first.

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“…the very large number of persons that had been forced into an arbitration process and have been obliged to settle as a result of the sheer weight that Telstra has brought to bear on them as a consequence where they have faced financial ruin if they did not settle…”

Senator Carr

My Story - Absent Justice

My Story

My name is Alan Smith.

This is the story of my battle with a telecommunications giant and the Australian Government, a battle that has twisted and turned, since 1992, through elected governments, government departments, regulatory bodies, the judiciary, and the Australian telecommunications giant, Telstra, or Telecom, as it was known when this story started. The quest for justice continues to this day.

My story started in 1987 when I decided my life at sea, where I had spent the previous 20 or so years, was over. I needed a new land-based occupation to see me through to my retirement years and beyond.

Of all the places in the world I had visited, I chose to make Australia my home.

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“All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”

– Edmund Burke